SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE

© The Artist

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE 1989

Paula Rego (1935 – )

Details

Dimension
52 X 38 CM
Media
ETCHING WITH AQUATINT
Accession number
P5779

Summary

The Nursery Rhymesportfolio derived from drawings Paula Rego made for her granddaughter Carmen for her second birthday. She drew those rhymes that Carmen knew, and these drawings, in ink and wash, were much simpler than the prints. The artist worked directly on the plates, and it is a measure of her draughtmanship that few had to be written off. The printing was undertaken by Paul Coldwell, himself an artist, at the Culford Press. He described the experience as a joy ‘because her images are so strongly drawn. At various points in the making of a print she insists on looking at it from a distance. Most artists work with the print under their noses, and only see at the private view that the image is unreadable at anything over six inches.’ The artist had wanted the prints to be strong and direct and wanted them to work, as she said, ‘biff-bang’.

Nursery rhymes are traditional rhymes passed on to children by adults. The first known book of rhymes was published around 1744. Many have sought to find hidden meanings or references to political satire within the verse but most are simply nonsensical rhymes that delight and amuse small children.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
They all began to sing.
Now, wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the King?

 

The King was in his countinghouse,
Counting out his money;
The Queen was in the parlour
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes.
Along there came a blackbird
And snipped off her nose!

 

 

Further reading:
Paula Rego Nursery Rhymes, The South Bank Centre, London 1990
T G Rosenthal, Paula Rego The Complete Graphic Work, Thames & Hudson, London 2003
Iona and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1952